Planners' surprise at tunnel plan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

A Macau developer learned about former minister Ao Man-long's plan to build a cross-harbour tunnel before government planners did, the court heard yesterday.

Chan Kuok-cheong, a senior technician in charge of Taipa Island's urban planning, said he was baffled when he received an application last year from property firm Belo Horizonte.

The firm, owned by developer Ho Meng-fai, requested a new plot of land from the government on grounds that its plot on Taipa was close to the entrance to a cross-harbour tunnel.

'I got the application saying that a tunnel would be close to the location [of the plot],' said Mr Chan, who has worked in the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau since the 1990s.

'But we had no plan for such a tunnel,' he said.

Belo Horizonte's application letter was first sent to Ao's office before being referred to Mr Chan's office, the court heard.

The application, submitted less than two months before Ao's arrest, was eventually rejected.

Before the application, Belo Horizonte had unsuccessfully sought to relax the height limit on its plot from 31.5 metres to 60.2 metres, the court heard.